Behind the scenes: Shelter enrichment & socialization – Dogs

by | Dog Care |

It’s been a minute since we shared some behind the scenes info about how we run our animal centres. So, we wanted to get back into it with sharing some examples of how we do enrichment and socialization in our centres!

More fascinating information can be found on our website here.

Classical music

Classical music is a form of auditory stimulation, which is especially good for dogs in our care. Bird song CDs are also good. We encourage our staff to vary when music is played and choose music that doesn’t increase vocal behaviour. Music is played daily, but not continuously throughout the whole day.

A different scent – indoor or outdoor kennel

This is a different type of stimulation entirely – Olfactory. This element can be introduced during daily cleaning; using diluted cooking extracts (vanilla, almond, etc), or sweet spices. This stimulation is especially valuable  for scent hounds, but almost all dogs will engage with olfactory stimulation.

In kennel reading

In kennel reading is especially valuable for shy or fearful dogs and can be done daily with them. This is a social stimulant for dogs in our care. A few Ontario SPCA and Humane Society animal centres have reading programs with schools. This adds the extra value of students growing in confidence by reading to animals.

Paper rolls with a few treats inside

This oral/cognitive stimulation can be given to dogs in our care twice weekly. Treats like this are beneficial to all dogs in our care, and are very easy to put together! It’s simple – we use empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls, and fill with small dry treats/kibble.

Find this interesting? Check out our Canine Activity Selection Chart for more examples of what socialization and enrichment look like at our animal centres.

Canine Activity Selection Chart


As an animal lover all the work you do

As an animal lover all the work you do to help ensure that every dog and cat can find their forever home that is filled with love is greatly appreciated.